(Clear skies, clear roads.)
As much as it is highly interesting to slowly arrive in California, it is as painful to leave at the same pace. While you tear through the striped black stuff, the place that you found to be so awesome erodes away in front of your eyes at a painfully slow pace.
Fortunately, our hotel was south of San Francisco, so in the act of leaving, we could take one more tour through the city. Perfectly convenient, no?
That's what I thought too. What could possibly go wrong?
If you take the due care and plan things out, things will not fall apart by the virtue of your own hand, but something must go wrong. That means that the environment around you will take the responsibility of throwing some stones in your direction.
Fortunately (again), we already had some Uruguayan referee ruin a goal in the form of transforming our summer into winter. But San Francisco always has something up its sleeve. And if it runs out, it has something in its pants too.
The latter is something that also pesters the inhabitants of the windy peninsula: traffic.
No, I don't mean a wimpy gridlock that lasts for an hour a day, but full-on clogging of anything paved that limits your movement to a standstill with an occasional step forward to not completely destroy your circulatory system.
And it was a Saturday. Mid-day.
I assumed it was because everybody wanted to drive on the main streets. However, every hour or so I was blessed with a look through an intersection, which very clearly explained to me that street type had nothing to do with it.
Usually, you can bypass traffic by taking smaller residential streets, but not if everybody else in the city knows that.
Despite all indications to abandon the PCH stretch that conquers the city and just take the I-5 like sane people, we pressed on. There was a rusty old bridge to see, which (as I may have mentioned a month or two ago) doesn't toll you on the way out.
Strangely enough, traffic cleared up (or spread out) on the entrance of the bridge, but it was still populated. Manageable, but populated.
The bridge builders thought ahead, though, and built three lanes in each direction, since they assumed that with time, the bits of land on either side would become more populated, and therefore collectively need more space to drive on. Plus, building another bridge (or expanding an existing one) would be expensive and ugly.
Unfortunately, this is unlike another "gated" bridge I know that has three lanes total and always gives two lanes to the direction opposite to yours. Those bridge builders did not think ahead and assumed that the present would never leave them and that they would live forever.
Unfortunately (again), they did in fact die and the population outgrew the bridge. I heard somewhere that this warped the brain of the opening ceremony choreographer, but don't quote me on it...
The SF bridge builders had more foresight still: they made full sidewalks on both sides, so that you could leave the car and walk at your own pace, taking some nice photos of the view. With so many people still in their cars, it's only logical that the pedestrian areas are much more movement-friendly.
Except San Francisco is not a logical city. Traffic was as bad on the sidewalks as it was on the streets. But we did see the bridge first-hand, and in the manner that was primarily intended: while moving.
Successfully crossing the bridge takes you to some of SF's better neighborhoods (read: SF's North Van) and then to a rainbow tunnel. Never forget where you are located...
The traffic vanished when we did from greater SF, and the drive became more enjoyable. If you ignored the fact that the interesting bit was becoming ever more "back there". Except for one guy.
Some more roads later, night fell and we switched from being in 'Californio' terrain to the land of the Adult Shops.
Fortunately (trust me, it's fortunate), our hotel isn't near such a shop. It's also the same one as last time, so I won't describe it too much.
Now if you'll excuse me, I must adjust my brain to tomorrow's impending return to a place whose mask collection is more vast than LA's...
And yes, that is a colossal RV towing a Hummer.